metcon 3

New Balance Minimus 40 Trainer Review (MX40v1)

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Long before I even got into CrossFit, I somehow got into minimalist shoes. My buddy had gone to REI and picked up a pair of Vibrams, so I followed suit. Back in the globo days, I wore Vibrams and my New Balance Minimus MT20’s religiously. The whole thought process of training your feet to be stronger made a lot of sense to me, even if it was all a hoax at the end of the day. Still, my big takeaway from all that was that cushion was not good for power output; the more “support” you have, the harder it is to exert power to the ground. Since you can’t always actually goto the gym barefoot, you’d want as dense “protection” as possible but not so soft that it would create too much of a barrier between you and whatever you’re pressing against.

In an ideal world, we’d all just be lifting, but in the real world, fitness is multi-faceted. In functional fitness, you have to be able to do anything, at anytime, and that includes running. This introduces a huge issue, comfortable running shoes are bad lifting shoes, and effective lifting shoes are horrible running shoes. Many companies have tried to come up with a solution for both, but most have failed, until now. New Balance has come up with the best blend of comfort and stability in a cross-trainer yet with the Minimus 40, and they don’t look half bad either.

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Looks/Construction:

New Balance had always tended to have an understated look with their shoes and the Minimus 40’s are no exception. Understated does not mean shoes have to be ugly, and while the Minimus 40’s are simple in design, they’re far from ugly. There are no gaudy logos, no crazy prints, and all but just excellent color combinations. The lines of the shoe keep it modern looking without being too silly; these shoes are made to look like they’re actually capable of doing work. One thing that will never change is the unmistakable “N” logo that adorns the side of the shoe. People have said that these shoes look like Metcon 3’s, but in all actuality Metcon’s look like the Minimus 40 since the New Balances came out first.

The uppers found on the Minimus line of training shoes have been decent, but always bit on the thin side. I thought the MT20’s were some of the best constructed shoes I’ve owned. After I retired those, I picked up a pair of MX20v3’s because I thought they looked cool, but they just felt a bit flimsy. Never did I go hard on them because I was always worried they would not stand up to the test of CrossFit. The Minimus 40 brings a refreshed no-sew woven synthetic mesh upper to the Minimus line that not only flexes extremely well, but is comfortable to wear with or without socks, and is resistant to abrasion. Couple that with the flexible Vibram outsole that should be as durable as the upper (though I don’t have any long term durability tests.) and you’ve got a shoe that is nothing less than confidence inspiring for all the rigors of CrossFit training. All the materials are top notch, the shoe actually feels like it’s worth it’s cost now.

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Fit/Comfort:

My original MT20’s were a size 9 and fit like a glove, but I always wore them without socks. Since then, I think my feet have somehow grown a bit from all the squatting I’ve done over the years. My last pair of MX20v3’s were a size 9.5 but did not accommodate my Morton’s toe well, so with the Minimus 40’s, I went up to a size 10. The fit for me is slightly long, but I would say they’re comfortable. If you don’t have Morton’s toe, size them your normal training shoe size. Though New Balance’s offer different width shoes, they generally fit on the more narrow side of things and the Minimus 40’s are no exception. This is something that you might want to take into account if you’re coming from Metcon’s or Nano’s, because those shoes are very wide in comparison. Here are my sizes for comparison:

  • Metcon – 9.5
  • Nano – 10
  • WL Shoes – 9
  • NoBull – 10
  • Chucks – 9
  • Boots – 8.5

Comfort isn’t necessarily one of the things at the top of my list when I look for training shoes; my number one priority is that I’m able to lift efficiently in the shoes. Over the years, my feet have gotten much more tolerant and used to not having any kind of cushion when I run, in fact – I prefer it that way. Call me crazy, but all “support” ends  up doing is make my feet work harder to stabilize when bounding, which causes them to ache. This was a huge problem that I had in the Nike Metcon DSX Flyknit. It still happens to a lesser extent, but I can deal with it as it doesn’t usually set in until late into a workout. That being said, it’s nice to have a little bit of impact deadening so my knees don’t get wrecked afterwards. New Balance’s Rapid Rebound foam makes for an easier ride, and paired with the REVLite heel, the Minimus 40 are firm enough training shoe at the same time.

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Performance:

When I first put on the Minimus 40, I thought to myself “There’s no way I can train in these, they’re too soft!”…how wrong I was. As I mentioned earlier, I judge my training shoes on their ability to be a lifting shoe and usually the more comfortable the shoe, the worse it is to lift in. You might think this too initially, but that’s why we need to try things out, because you never know what you’re gonna get. Though the insole and midsole combination compresses, it doesn’t go down very far due to the low midsole height and fairly solid Vibram outsole. Power delivery is excellent, rivaling even the most stiff soled shoes out there. The insole/midsole might feel a bit squishy, but at the end of the day, stability is almost as good as it is in any of the best training shoes out there. So much so, that I was able to PR my snatch hitting the 225 milestone. I’m not saying the shoes helped me hit that lift, but they certainly didn’t interfere either.

 


With all Minimus shoes, the 40’s are neutral and have a 4mm drop that actually feels flatter than it is. Pair the measley 10oz per shoe weight with the Rapid Rebound midsole and you’ve got one of the most responsive rides in a cross-trainer. New Balance’s claims that the Minimus 40’s are a new approach to training footwear, is entirely accurate as they never become too harsh for running, or too plush for lifting. They’re responsive yet comfortable enough to rebound box jumps, flexible enough for multiple burpees, and a more than stable enough platform that will never let you down when you need to pick up something heavy. I abhor shoes that have too much “support” because it usually ends up with my feet becoming excruciatingly sore after trying to find balance after repeated bounding. My support comes from ground feel, which the Minimus 40 never lack.

Can you run in them? Absolutely, they happen to be now one of my favorite shoes to comfortably do running WOD’s in, all while remaining stable enough to hit lifts in. I prefer neutral runners that don’t force your feet anywhere, so the Minimus 40’s stable, responsive, yet still “plush enough” platform is perfect for me. These are the kind of shoe that you would want to wear for a workout like “Helen”. At the end of the day, they’re still training shoes, if you want to run distances, get some running shoes, but if you’re looking for an all around metcon shoe the Minimus 40’s are one of the best choices. Take notes bigger brands.

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Value/Conclusion:

It’s really hard to tear people away from Nike and Reebok, especially when you’re not typically known as the “cool” brand (Exception: 247’s!). Retailing at around the same price ($120), the Minimus 40’s are definitely worth the look for anyone looking for a great performing and great looking shoe that can pretty much do it all. I’m not keen to giving up any kind of power output for comfort but New Balance has successfully come closer to finding the balance between comfort and rigidity in a fitness shoe to date. I’ve used a lot of shoes, liked a bunch, disliked even more, but I’ll  definitely be using my Minimus 40’s for a long time after this review.

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Nike Romaleos 3 Weightlifting Shoes Review

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It’s been a long 5 years since the ever so popular, Nike Romaleos 2 released back in 2012 before the London Olympics and 9 years since the original Romaleos were released before the Beijing games. The Romaleos 1 & 2 were basically the same shoe in design, but the second iterations were made more flexible and more importantly, cut off a ton of weight. One that that hasn’t changed is how insanely popular these weightlifting shoes are. I started CrossFit the same year the 2’s were released and I remember the Romaleos 2’s always being sold out. It wasn’t until I got my hands on them that I realized why: they were insanely stable. At the time the only shoes I had to compare them to were my Reebok Oly Lifters and Adidas Adipowers, which were both great shoes, but nothing felt as rock solid than the Romaleos 2 did.

It’s now 2017 and the Romaleos 3 are out, a completely redesigned shoe for the new age of weightlifting that like it or not, includes CrossFit. These are not just Olympic weightlifting shoes, they’re not just powerlifting shoes or “squat” shoes, and they’re not just CrossFit shoes. They’re training shoes for everyone whose purpose is to lift weights, whatever discipline you follow. This couldn’t be any more apparent with the changes made to the Nike Romaleos 3.

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Looks & Construction:

It’s been 9 years and the Romaleos were in dire need of a facelift. Not that the older models were ugly, but updated colorways just weren’t cutting it anymore.  While still looking very much like a weightlifting shoe, the R3’s carry no cues of the original models over in it’s updated look. If I could sum up the new look of the R3’s compared to it’s predecessors, in a single word: it’s svelte. Some people are going to disagree with me on this one, but the R3’s look sleeker and sexier than the old models in every way. I think all the launch colorways are perfect, though I would personally like to see a louder one *cough* volt *cough*.

The upper is a new synthetic material that at the back of the shoe has a fabric like feel to it, and at the toe area feels more leathery. It doesn’t feel cheap at all, but it doesn’t feel as robust as the rubbery upper of the Romaleos 2. The toe box is covered with ventilation strips that act as flex points giving you a much more natural toe off. Though the shoes do have the updated Flywire lacing system, it’s only around the ankle area of the shoe, with another set of eyelets for if you want to use lace lock. The updated strap isn’t ridiculously long and actually does a good job of tightening the shoe. Like the previous model, the R3’s come with two pairs of insoles: a softer one that’s mainly going to be directed towards CrossFit athletes and a stiffer heavier one that weightlifting purists will probably gravitate towards.

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The biggest change to the Romaleos 3 is something you can’t actually see, it’s how insanely light these shoes are. This is immediately apparent from the time you pick the shoe box up. Without the insoles the shoes weigh 12.2oz which is about the same as a normal trainer. It’s not realistic to wear the shoes without insoles but the “soft” insole increases the weight to only 13.4oz and the “firm” insoles up to 15.4oz. Either way you go, you’re going to notice the weight reduction – Romaleos 2 with the “soft” insole weighed 16.5oz according to my scale.

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Fit:

Fans of the Romaleos 2 might not be too keen on the Romaleos 3 new slimmer profile. While it’s still very much a wide base, it’s considerably more narrow than the Romaleos of old. You’re going to notice this much more in the mid foot section of the shoe and even more if you’re using the thicker, firm insoles. Interestingly enough, I got a much more locked down fit using the softer insoles. I barely tightened my laces up and my heels stayed seated in the shoes the whole time during a WOD, whereas with the firm insoles, I actually had to use the lace lock to get the same kind of fit during Oly lifting. Either way, the fit outclasses the Romaleos 2 by a long shot and there’s virtually no heel slip.

The toe box to me still feels the same and my digits get cramped up a bit, though not uncomfortable for weightlifting, not ideal for WOD’s. If you’re a CrossFit athlete looking to do WOD’s in the R3’s, I’d recommend sizing up a half size and just changing the insert whenever you wanted to do hit a WOD or a weightlifting session. If you’re just looking to strictly do Olympic weightlifting or squatting in the Romaleos 3, just stick to your normal weightlifting shoe size because you’re not going to want that extra wiggle room. Personally I went with a size 9, but seeing as how I’m going to be using the shoes for CrossFit and weightlifting, I would go with a 9.5 if I were to do it again.

My sizes for reference:

  • Romaleos 2 – 9
  • Metcons – 9.5
  • Nanos – 10
  • Chucks – 9
  • AdiPowers/Leistung – 9.5
  • Legacy – 9
  • Fastlifts – 9
  • Lifter Plus – 9
  • Positions – 9
  • NoBull Lifters – 9, but should be a 9.5

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Performance:

The Romaleos 2 are excellent shoes and quite possibly one of the best pairs of lifting shoes of all time due to their incredible stability. The R3’s are very stable shoes in their own right, but they’re not as much so as the R2’s (*gasp*). What very little you lose in stability, you gain in other areas and in my opinion, that’s what makes the R3’s the superior shoe. At least for me they are.

You’re going to notice the R3’s slightly more narrow platform from the get go if you’ve been lifting in the R2’s for a while. AdiPower fans will feel right at home because that’s the closest shoe the new Romaleos feel like. Once again, not narrow by any means, just more narrow than before. The R3’s also don’t have that same planted feeling the Romaleos 2 had when you jump; like gravity boots sucking you back down to the Earth. This is mainly due to the the reduction in weight, but at the same time it’s a lot easier to move around in the R3’s with either insole, which is more valuable to me. I’m able to move my feet much faster than ever before in the R3’s, which is invaluable to me because I have the tendency to drag my feet along. Where the R3’s really shine is that they’re excellent shoes to WOD in, because they’re almost sneaker like in weight. Combine that with the best in class forefoot flexibility and you’ve got movement as natural as it’s going to get in any Oly shoes. The R3’s feel the most connected your feet than any Oly shoe before it.

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The effective heel height of the Nike Romaleos is 20mm or .79″, which still puts it in the 3/4″ territory like most weightlifting shoes, excluding the Adidas Leistung. Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of the 1″ heel and 3/4″ seems to be perfect for me. Don’t freak out, you’re not going to a difference between the slightly lower heel (19mm) of the Romaleos 2. As before, the heel is made out of TPU and is incompressible, making power delivery perfect. Nike left the inside of the heel hollow probably to save on weight, but there are pylons throughout the heel to give it structure. At the ball of the foot, you can actually press the outsole in, but if you were to push through the inside of the shoe, you’d just be pressing into ground, so that’s not a big deal. The outsole material is a bit tackier than before and does a great job sticking to rubber flooring, but an even better job sticking to the platform.

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Value & Conclusion:

These are currently my favorite pair of weightlifting shoes…

…Despite saying that, I don’t think everyone’s going benefit equally from the Romaleos 3.

Here’s where things get really subjective: who will benefit the most from “upgrading” to the Nike Romaleos 3? To be completely honest, CrossFitters will, and that’s not just because I am one. Like I said before, Romaleos 2’s were some of the most stable shoes of all time and they still are more stable than the Romaleos 3. If you’re not having to move your feet around, you won’t really notice the weight reduction as much. Weightlifters will benefit as well, but not to the same extent because the amount of movement done, while precise, is short. Proficient weightlifters could actually want the added weight for stability. Powerlifters and globo’ers will never have to worry about this and would actually benefit from having a heavier shoe so they won’t have to worry about their feet shifting around during squats. This is not to say the Romaleos 3 can’t be good for everyone, they are indeed EXCELLENT shoes for everything.

Before you go pulling the trigger on the Nike Romaleos 3, you’ve got to take into account what you’re using them for and what shoe you would actually benefit from the most. The Reebok Legacy Lifters, while bricks (20oz), are the most stable shoe out there. The Adidas Leistung 2 have a 1″ heel for those that need the extra mobility and weigh in at a little above 17oz. Even the Romaleos 2’s would still be an excellent choice for most people and since the R3’s are out, they cost less! Once again, this is not to say that the R3’s can’t be used by everyone out there, if you like them, by all means get them. The Romaleos 3’s will perform above and beyond everyone’s needs; there is no way you’ll be disappointed in them! For those doubting the ability of the Romaleos 3 to be a competition ready shoe, go watch Colin Burns snatch the American record in them.

The Nike Romaleos 3 cost $200, which like most weightlifting shoes, isn’t a small a price to pay, but it’s an investment in your training. While some might not find it the perfect shoe for their discipline, it’s the perfect weightlifting shoe for me because of blend of stability, flexibility, and agility. I think it’s pretty obvious that Nike chose to design the Nike Romaleos 3 with functional fitness in mind as well as Olympic weightlifting. There will no doubt be some controversy for this in the weightlifting world. For CrossFitters, Romaleos 3 are a no-brainer; but for everyone else, you might want to check your options first.

Get your Nike Romaleos 3 at Rogue Fitness starting 1/21!

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Reebok CrossFit Nano 7.0 Review

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I almost can’t believe it’s already been seven generations of the Reebok CrossFit Nano. When I started CrossFit, the Nano 2.0 had just been released; at that time I was working out primarily in minimal  shoes. Lucky for me, the theme of CrossFit shoes was minimal, but that didn’t stop me from grabbing a pair of Nano 2.0’s, mainly because they were acutal CF shoes. They were, are, and probably will forever be, my favorite Nano’s. Ever since then, I try not to use shoes not designed for “CrossFit”, even if they are training shoes; mainly because they’re usually not capable of doing all we do proficiently.

CrossFit is an all encompassing fitness regimen, you have to be able to lift, run and jump in them. Being able to balance all the traits is where things get tricky, and few have been able to come close to total solution for a shoe. Though I’ll forever love the Nano 2.0’s, last year when Reebok released the Nano 6.0, they came pretty damned close to putting together the perfect CrossFit shoe, and definitely made it difficult for them to create a follow-up. Surprisingly, Reebok strayed away from Nano 6.0’s with the 7.0’s, not only completely changing the winning formula of the shoe, but also changing the release schedule it had always had. There were a lot of salty people after they found out the Nano 7.0’s would be released in the beginning of January, after they had just gotten 6.0’s for Christmas.

The release of the seventh generation model was met with nothing short of criticism, mainly for their appearance, but also because of the change in release schedule to “undercut” the Metcon. For whatever reason, the Nano 7.0’s are here in January, once again being touted as the best Nano yet (of course they would be), but they’ve got some big shoes to fill, pun intended.

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Looks, Construction & Fit:

Personally, I think people are being a little harsh about the way the Nano 7.0’s look. True, they take a huge departure from the no nonsense styling of the Nano 6.0, but different doesn’t mean bad.  I think the main issue was the launch colorway, which at my box we’ve dubbed “Shoe by the Foot”, because the colors resemble the Fruit by the Foot flavor no one knew they were eating. Since then, more colors have been released and I think people are starting to warm up to them a bit; I think the grey is pretty good looking. When I see the shoe, I think of all the possibilities for colorways, in which the 7’s have quite possibly more options than any Nano before it.

Gone is the Kevlar outer shell and replacing it is the brand new “Nanoweave”. I don’t blame Reebok for not wanting to pay Dupont and going with a proprietary option; I never thought the Kevlar worked well anyways. The texture is rough and has a basket-like weave over a traditional synthetic upper; it feels sturdy enough, but also very stiff. Before you get the shoes broken in, it creates uncomfortable ridges in the toe box area; it takes a few days for them to go away. I’ve never had an issue with durability in Nano’s yet and I don’t think there will be any questions about how well Nano’s hold up any time soon. I did a few rope climbs and the shoes looked as good as new afterwards.

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While the platform largely feels the same as far as width, the Nano 7.0’s are definitely the tallest shoe in the line-up. I don’t know why they chose to go this route, but it doesn’t effect the performance of the shoe much. The heel to toe drop remains the same as it’s always been at 4mm. Inside the shoe, there’s a little bit more arch support compared to the generally flatter, older models. Initially, people were saying that the Nano 7.0’s were more narrow, but I don’t really find this to be the case. I think the stiffness in the upper is what they’re talking about, I measured the shoe at almost identical dimensions as the 6.0. The only one that was off, was the length of the shoe, which the 6.0 was longer. Oddly enough, the 7.0’s feel longer to me, giving me a little bit more room for my Morton’s toe.

For sizing, I would recommend you size the exact same as all of your other Nano’s. Be wary that these ones take more time to break in, but after that they should be fine. My sizing for reference:

  • Nano 6 – 10
  • Nike Metcon – 9.5
  • Adidas Ultraboost/NMD – 10
  • Chucks – 9
  • Weightlifting shoes – 9

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Performance:

In my extremely biased opinion, CrossFit is the most demanding fitness regimen, both mentally and physically. With that, the expectation for functional, durable, and high performing footwear is as equally demanded. Specialization is punished in the grand scheme of fitness, this theology translates into the footwear made for the sport. You could wear weightlifting shoes for stability and power, but you’d be giving up agility. You could wear running shoes, but you’d be giving up stability and power. The key to a great CrossFit shoe is to be able to blend all of the facets of fitness into one. Like every Nano before it, the 7.0’s were designed to handle everything you can throw at it, but they lean further than ever in one direction than ever.

Remember that stiffness we talked about earlier? Well, it’s not just in the upper, the outsole is the most rigid and dense of any Nano as well; probably in part due to the thickness of it. The heel is near in-compressible, making power delivery and landings the best yet. Lateral stability has always been good, but this time it’s excellent with the addition of the new TPU heel cup and the midsole’s new shell. I’ve always thought Nano’s were some of the best platforms for lifting, but the Nano 7.0 really takes the cake. You’ll never second guess a lift or landing because of lack of footing. They’re still flat as can be, so powerlifting movements have never been better; which seeing as how all the powerlifting shoes were discontinued, makes sense now. Personally, I try to not spoil myself by lifting in Oly shoes and the Nano 7.0’s make me not miss them at all.

Where the Nano also shines is the new redesigned outsole pattern and material. Meta-split grooves carry over from the previous models, giving your toes a little more flexibility to splay. The multi-directional tread pattern has been reworked, but I think the tackiness of the outsole is what gives the 7.0’s such sure footing. It’s a little gummy in feeling, compared to the standard rubber on the previous models. You might not notice the Rope-Pro, but it’s there and it is the best version yet. This year, they ditched the traditional spikes for a ribbed pattern across the middle of the outsole, but it does an insanely good job of holding onto the rope when climbing. From asphalt to the platform, the Nano 7.0’s have the best grip yet.

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Lifting, check. Grip and rope climbs, check. Running..?

The Nano 6.0’s were so good because you could actually run in them too.  Sure, there are better running shoes, but none of which you can lift in as well. What makes the 7.0’s such great lifting shoes, makes them horrible running shoes, probably the worst yet. Imagine what running in clown shoes would feel like and you’ve pretty much pictured running in Nano 7.0’s. The overall flexibility and comfort of the shoe took a big hit with the “improvements” to the upper and outsole. I don’t think even the best running coaches could help you efficiently run in the Nano 7.0’s. Even if you pose run, the forefoot isn’t very flexible and the upper is uncomfortable and heel strikers will get wrecked because the heel is so dense. I did a running workout with some snatches in between and my IT bands and TFL’s were wrecked for days afterwards.

Any other type of plyometric exercises are just passable. Thankfully, since the shoes are so rigid, they’re also very responsive. Box jumps felt sure enough, though landings were a little hard. Burpees are a little rough on the way up because of the inflexibility of the shoe. Double unders weren’t bad at all and my plantar fascias never got the “burn” even after a few hundred of them. All things the Nano 7.0 do well, but not nearly as good as it’s predecessor. Weight is so similar it’s almost not even worth noting. I weighed the 7.0’s at 11.8 oz and the 6.0’s at 11.4oz for a men’s size 10.

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Value & Conclusion:

One thing that hasn’t changed, and probably will never change is the price of the shoe. Nano 7.0’s retail for $130 and right now, while the 6.0’s are still for sale, I don’t know if I could recommend them over the less expensive 6.0. What really hurts the Nano 7.0’s is that the 6.0’s were just SO good; I’m talking about one of my favorite pairs of training shoes of all time good. If you’re a powerlifter or globo gym person (both of which probably would’t even be looking at CrossFit shoes), the Nano 7.0’s would be a better performer. Don’t get me wrong, the 7.0’s are still an excellent training shoe, as every Nano was before it. As a complete CrossFit shoe, the Nano 7.0’s are just not as good as the 6.0’s. 

I can appreciate the work that Reebok is continually putting in to make their shoe the best, but I feel like the 7.0’s might have been rushed out a little bit. The enhancements detract too much from the overall experience. Historically, the odd numbers in the Nano line up have been the odd ones out that people don’t really care for, and the even models people love. It’s kind of like when Apple decides to release a new iPhone, but then corrects all the faults with the “S” model. Maybe Reebok has something else in store for this year that might be an alternate model to the Nano line up. As it is right now, the Reebok CrossFit Nano 7.0’s are great lifting shoes, just not the best CrossFit shoes.

Get your Nano 7.0’s here!

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Nike Metcon 3 DSX Flyknit Shoes Review

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***Click here for the Nike Metcon 3 Review***

What if we made a shoe that was flexible enough to run and jump in, but stable enough to cut and lift in? That is exactly what the original Metcon 3 is made to do. So what’s the DSX Flyknit for? Running, jumping, cutting, and lifting. Wait, what? Yes, the DSX is made to do the same thing the normal Metcon’s do, just with more of an emphasis on running or jumping, and less on stability. A revolutionary idea, except that it’s not revolutionary at all since Nike’s been making more soft and flexible training shoes all along; not to mention ones in Flyknit.

Personally, I’ve never found any Metcon or functional fitness shoe uncomfortable for the runs we’re doing in any given metcon, including something like “Helen” or even “Murph”. Let’s be real, the max you’re ever going to be running in a WOD is maybe 3 miles (exception: “Dragon”), in which case isn’t even that long of a run. If running that much really bothers you that much, you could wear a running shoe. I’m sure most running shoes are stable enough to do pull-ups, push-ups, and squats in anyways. What makes the Metcon 3’s so good, is that they’re the one stop solution for everything fitness, but most importantly they’re great lifting shoe; so why sacrifice that with the DSX Flyknit?

Looks & Construction:

Metcon’s have always had a distinctive silhouette and the DSX Flyknits though new in material, share the same iconic design. At launch the only color way is the even more iconic original volt/grey/black scheme from the original Metcon 1 and boy did Nike do that shoe justice. The DSX Flyknit is definitely one of the best functional training shoe designs to come out in a long time. They’ve gone and taken the tried and true design of the Metcon and twisted it around in Flyknit flavoring, without going too overboard. All the lines and colors synergize well with each other and while the shoe is somewhat louder than the original, it’s also refined and never too gaudy.

I was skeptical about how the Flyknit material would hold in a Metcon shoe because typically they’ve never fit me spot on, but Nike’s reinforced Flyknit for the DSX fits like a glove. It’s not too loose like the Flyknit Racers were in some spots, but not overly tight like the 3.0 Free’s were (the only Flyknit shoes I had to compare with), and does an excellent job holding your foot in place. I think that’s also partly due to the extended TPU heel counter found at the rear of the shoe, which extends almost halfway to the front of the shoe.

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Like on the standard model Metcon, you still get the TPU heel clip for handstand push-ups, drop-in midsole (6mm drop), sticky rubber outsole and Flywire lacing system. I can’t comment on durability, because it just hasn’t been long enough. I’m sure the shoes will last the rigors of daily life, but I’m not sure I want to see how these shoes look after a few rope climbs though.

Unfortunately the squeaky insole problem returns in the DSX Flyknits. Yes, I know there are a bunch of Mickey Mouse way’s you can go about fixing this, but that’s not the issue. The real issue is how this isn’t already fixed, 3 generations into a shoe.


Fit:

Though the DSX Flyknit shares the same basic platform of the Metcon 3, the upper provides a more fitted feel. Initially they might feel tighter than what you’re used to, but that’s how it should be. Sizing the DSX Flyknit should be the same as it is your normal Metcon’s. Here are some of my sizes for reference:

  • Metcon 3/DSX – 9.5
  • Nano 6.0 – 10
  • Chucks –  9
  • Weightlifting shoes – 9

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Performance:

Besides the Flyknit exterior, the main difference between the Metcon 3 and the DSX is it’s drop-in midsole. Basically what that does is it makes the Metcon’s a more modular system with interchangeable midsole densities, except that you can’t actually go out and shop for new ones by themselves. To me, the midsole in the Metcon 3 was perfect; it was decently flat with a 4mm drop, dense, flexible, decently comfortable, and most importantly stable. The DSX Flyknit has a 6mm drop, greatly increased forefoot flex grooves, and an added articulated cushioning system for comfort for “more miles and reps”.

Initially when you put the shoes on, you’ll feel a little bit taller than if you were to stand in normal Metcon 3’s and the midsole does a pretty good job holding your body weight up. I was surprised to find that the DSX were more stable than I had thought they would be, until you start to lift. If you’re a seasoned Metcon vet, you’ll immediately notice that the platform of the DSX Flyknit’s are inferior for lifting. It doesn’t take a ton of weight to make the new midsole start to compress; I felt like I was pushing, but going no where when squatting a reasonable weight. Olympic lifts start okay, but landings have you jostling with the shoe for the right position. I still consider 6mm generally flat and the outsole is still as grippy as ever, so those couldn’t be where the DSX falter. At the end of the day, I can forgive the DSX Flyknit’s for being a mediocre lifting shoe, because that’s not their intended purpose.

The DSX Flyknits are lighter than the standard models by an ounce, but also more flexible and generally comfortable to walk around in. I spent the whole day walking around the mall with the DSX on and don’t have any complaints as far as breathability or comfort go; they’re great casual shoes. Once you really start get moving in them is when things change. Running in the DSX Flyknits feels just like it does in normal Metcons with the short runs I’ve done; I’m probably not going to go run a 10k with these shoes on, neither will most people, so that’s not something I’m going to test them with. After a workout with 250 double unders and 75 burpees, but my plantar fascia’s felt like they were on freaking fire. I gave the shoes a pass there because that’s going to be hard on your feet in any shoe, but I got that same feeling after a workout with wall balls, snatches and muscle-ups too. I think the idea is great, but the added cushioning does nothing more than make the shoe less responsive, making your feet work overtime trying to find positions; a problem I’ve never had with the more stable Metcon 3’s.

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Value & Conclusion:

Retailing for $160, the DSX Flyknit’s are not a cheap shoe, definitely not one you’re going to want to thrash. So, if the DSX Flyknit’s are uncomfortable and less stable than the normal Metcon 3, but cost $30 more, what’s the point? As a shoe, they’re awesome to look at, well made, generally okay to lift in – globo’ers will love them…but I think most box goers will find that the normal Metcon 3’s are still the way to go.

A Metcon, made for metcons…

Great idea, except when you’re sacrificing what make’s the Nike Metcon’s such an excellent shoe: their stability. Let’s be clear about this, the DSX Flyknits were never meant to be shoes to replace the original Metcon’s. They’re designed for lighter WOD’s that have an emphasis on running and plyometrics, with occasional lifting thrown in the mix. Which they’re generally okay at, but they’re no better than the normal models and aren’t even all that comfortable for anything other than casual use. If you want to do distance runs, go get a real running shoe. I think the DSX Flyknit’s would be better if they kept the Flyknit upper, but had the normal Metcon 3’s midsole. Which you could switch for yourself if you had both shoes, but most people aren’t going to buy both of them (or you could use your Metcon 1/2 midsoles). If I had to recommend one, it would be the standard Metcon 3, which is lighter, more flexible, and more comfortable than its predecessors.

I value stability in a shoe above all else and typically prefer more minimal platforms. If you’re like me, you probably won’t like the DSX Flyknit’s.

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